Sunday, July 19, 2015

Seen from a grouse's perspective

As the rain beats down I turn to the bookshelves, and of course to the Ted Hughes book of 'Remains of Elmet', sombre photographs by Fay Godwin.  A dark book in all senses...

Grouse Butts

Where all the lines embrace and lie down,
Roofless hovels of turf, tapped by harebells,
Weather humbler.

In a world bare of men
They are soothing as ruins
Where the stones roam again free.

But inside each one, under sods, nests
Of spent cartridge cases
Are acrid with life.
Those dead looking fumaroles are forts.

Monkish cells, communal, strung out, solitary,
The front-line emplacements of a war nearly religious -
Dedicated to the worship
Of costly, beautiful guns.

A religion too arcane
For the grouse who grew up to trust their kingdom
And its practical landmarks.

I remember taking these photographs, and watching the grouse amongst the heather, feeling a very similar mood as to the fortress like appearance of these butts that Hughes had about their warlike markings on the moor; all that energy and money pitched against a small bird - what arrogance!


  1. ;) the rain stopped at 10.30! I shall copy more of Hughes out, as I realised all the photos in the book are from where my family now live, somewhat gloomy past history...


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